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Ava Is Unstoppable

This baby is barely a baby anymore.  When I put her down for bed last night, she didn’t want me to hold her and give her a bottle.  She keeps wanting to hold the bottle herself.  Also, instead of getting ready for bed, she wanted to climb the headboard.  She actually prefers when there are pillows in the way because it makes the process more difficult.

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Ava likes to pull herself up and then fall down.  She laughs on the way down.

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She’s spending a lot more time on her feet before she collapses.  I really love watching the process of her muscles getting stronger each week.  Ava will stand while grabbing the couch and sort through books for a few minutes before falling down.  She’ll be walking any day now.

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Last weekend it was pouring on Saturday so we took Ava to the aquarium.  She had a good time.  The only fish that interested her were ones that swam right in front of her face.  She was more interested in birds in the exhibits, like a toucan that stood only a few feet away.  Afterwards, we went to IKEA, which she loved.  Ava would climb up the pillows and fall backwards into the couch.  Jon says that the next time it rains on a weekend we should save our money and take Ava to Target.

 

IKEA had these great wooden cars that Ava loves.  She’s so physical these days, I love it.

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This year Mother’s Day was the day before Ava’s birthday.  We spent the day exploring the aviary that is within walking distance of our house.  It’s really nice to visit, especially since we were married there.  If we stay in Salt Lake, it will be a nice story to tell Ava about when we visit.

 

At first Ava thought it was a walk like any other walk because she couldn’t make out the grey and brown birds in the cages.  But once we got to the macaws she really perked up.  This macaw kept saying “Hi” to her so she’d say “Hi” back and do her wave, which is opening and closing her hand with her fingers.  They communicated.

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Ava’s birthday was pretty low key.  Jon got off work early to take her to the park.  I made lemon vanilla cupcakes.  You can’t see it, but Ava’s onsie in the picture below says “Hello World,” which is a programming reference and also a funny thing to wear on your birthday.

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This week poor Ava has had a horrible stomach virus.  She’s been needing her diaper changed all day and all night, and when you change her diaper at night she wakes up and it takes an hour to get her back to sleep.  So during the worst of it, we’d go through this cycle of her needing a diaper change, spending an hour falling back asleep, and waking up an hour later needing a diaper change again.  She was still feeling bad today, although she’s on the mend.

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Jon let me put her hair in a little ponytail.  Isn’t it the best?  Her hair had been driving me crazy because it’s always in her face and it gets so messy during mealtime.  Her nanny does a much better job of gathering the hair.  I don’t know how she does it with such a wriggly baby.

Ava Is a Year Old

Happy birthday Ava!  I don’t even know how you can go from the first to the second picture in less than a year.

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Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava can pull herself up using a guide, such as her crib or her dad.  I guess I should lower the crib again.

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  • She will let me hold her hands, pull her up from sitting to standing, and help her walk a few steps.  That’s a pretty big achievement.  For awhile, she didn’t want me to help her at all with having any pressure on her feet.
  • Ava loves getting into things.  I think I’ve figured out the last cabinet that needs baby locks on it.

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  • Ava is getting great at playing.  She plays the sock game.  She loves to crawl to the side of the bed and try to throw herself over the edge, knowing that one of us will catch her before she falls too far.  In the mornings she also likes to play with her bath toys in her crib.

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  • She plays a stick game with Teddy where they take the stick from each other.  Sometimes Teddy gets so excited he runs circles around the yard while Ava laughs hysterically.

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Foods and Liquids

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  • Right now grapes are Ava’s favorite food.  When she refuses all other food, there’s still room in her belly for grapes.
  • I finally got her to appreciate mangos.
  • I think her new favorite food this month was cod.  She ate so much of it!
  • We went to a diner and Ava ate her weight in eggs, pancakes, and home fries.  She grabbed the food off her plate; it was amazing!
  • Ava learned how to drink from a straw.  She’s so smart, she just did it after Jon showed her how to use it.

 

Sleep

  • Ava is back to going down easily for bedtime after a few nights of letting her cry it out.  She still wakes up every couple of hours.
  • I’m planning on slowly weaning Ava and I hope that will lengthen her sleep.
  • She’s now only taking one nap in the middle of the day instead of two.  She usually sleeps around noon for 1.5-2 hours.

 

Language Skills

  • She’s really blossoming with language.  She’s added mama, Milo, and bird to her vocabulary.
  • She understands words too.  If you say kitty she starts clicking, which her grandma taught her, to lure cats to her.  If you say yay or good job, she’ll start clapping.

Gorilla Warfare

Ava likes to beat up her gorilla.

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Ava is so much fun.  She’s getting much better at independent play and she doesn’t follow me crying at night when I leave the room.

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The independence is bittersweet because now she wants to read books herself instead of having you read to her.  I know that once she understands words she’ll want us to read to her again, though.  Right now she’s really focused on being able to open the pages herself.

If you want to see a baby age six months before your eyes, put her in a pair of skinny jeans.

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Ava is having a sudden language explosion.  She’s known the meaning of kitty and dog for awhile, and she’s started to recognize cats in books, even when they’re drawn as cartoons.  She’s not 100% discerning, though, because she thinks guinea pigs are also cats.  But now there’s even more developments:

  • Ava is saying mama more distinctly.
  • She’s also said Milo to refer to the neighbor’s cat and teta, which is Spanish for bottle.  Ava is bilingual!
  • She said agua when she wanted a bottle of water.
  • Funny story, my nanny used to take care of a baby that called watermelons agua-melons because agua is Spanish for water.  Isn’t that clever?!
  • Today she pointed to a picture of Conner printed onto Jon’s shirt and said kittie.  I corrected her by saying bird and she repeated the word six times!

I said what?

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Ava Loves Nature

When Ava was a few months old, she always wanted to be outside.  She wanted me to take her from thing to thing to thing.  Now that she’s older she still loves nature, but she wants to touch nature.  During our nightly walks she gets mad unless you stop occasionally to let her scratch at bark, pull at leaves, or run her fingers over thick bushes.

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A few months ago you couldn’t put her in the grass because she would tear it up and try to eat it.  Now she just tears it up.  We had a great time hanging out with Teddy this weekend.  Teddy’s favorite thing is to sit in the sun and crunch one of the beans that Ava is holding.  When Ava had one, Teddy grabbed it from her.  Fortunatley she was just confused and not upset.  She would crawl to him and take it back.  They went back and forth for several minutes.  You can tell that Teddy is happy in this picture because he’s making his googly eyes.

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Teddy is going to be so happy when Ava is able to play fetch with him.  In the meantime, Ava has an excellent face for kisses.

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Ava has been making fantastic strides in her motor and language skills and I want to remember these great stories:

  • Jon taught Ava to yell while he puts his hand rapidly on and off her mouth to make a sound effect – I think we used to call it an Indian noise back when you said Indian instead of Native American.  She can make the same noise using her own hand, although she can’t move it over her mouth as fast.  The funny thing is, she now does this when she’s mad.  So when you change her diaper she will start making the noise.  She even did it in the middle of the night when I wasn’t producing enough milk to satisfy her hunger.
  • Ava was eating at her high chair when a neighborhood cat peered into our house from the screen door.  I said, “Hi Milo.”  And Ava, who has heard me use Milo’s name no more than 10 times, cried to be let out of her highchair while she distinctly said “Milo.”  Genius!
  • Ava is saying “mum-mum-mum-mum…” but there’s a chance she’s merely expressing her desire for Baby Mum-Mums.
  • About a month or two ago, Jon’s mom taught Ava to clap when you cheered.  Now, if you say “yay!” or “good job” around Ava, she will start clapping.
  • Ava loves being read to.  More recently, she’s gotten frustrated because she wants to read the books herself.  Last night she spent 45 minutes trying to turn the pages.  She got so mad she cried, which is not good but I really admire her tenacity.

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Time to Babyproof

Ava has been crawling faster and faster.  She loves getting into things.  And she’s quite proud of her abilities.  I sent the picture below to my husband with a note that we miiight need more baby-proofing latches.

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She’s no longer concerned about me leaving the room because she’s too busy trying to figure out how to get into things.  Just this morning I thought of the adage about how you should worry if things are really quiet and there she was in the bathroom trying to tip over the trash can.

 

She gets really goofy in the morning messing around in  her crib.  I think she’s really close to pulling herself up to standing on her own.  Ava laughs at herself the whole time she tries to pull herself up.  Look at my skinny baby!

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She’s willing to stay standing if properly motivated.

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I expect it’s still going to be awhile before she’s walking, though.  Ava hasn’t been doing her yoga poses as much lately, maybe because she can crawl everywhere so quickly.  Instead she prefers to stay in the Tebow position you see in the crib picture.

Before we get started, I’m not pregnant, this is all introspection.

 

Before having Ava, I had this burning desire to have a baby.  I wanted to add to our family by creating something new.  I was also under the influence of hormones and I wanted to hold a tiny mewling baby.  Once Ava was born, I got the perfect wonderful baby I always wanted.  But she grew so quickly and stopped looking like a newborn.

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I’m not sure exactly when the feeling started again, but maybe about six months after Ava’s birth, I started pining away for a newborn again.  What craziness is there in these hormones where I’m still so desperately sleep deprived and my C-section scar still twinges, and yet I want to do this all over again?!  And of course it would only be worse because I would have to contend with both a newborn and a toddler.  This Salon article captures the sentiment nicely: “That desire for another child, it called to me like a Siren and I was rendered helpless by its song.”

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Jon and I have been talking a lot about whether to add a second child to the mix.  I’m breaking this down into pros and cons because I can’t think about it in a rational fashion otherwise.

 

Pros

  • Ava would be more social adept
  • Ava would have a potential best friend for life
  • Ava is so amazing, if we could make another Ava it would be a benefit to the world

 

I am the cutest

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  • I can have another baby to snuggle and a whole infant period where I wouldn’t be terrified of the baby
  • A bigger family means more people to love, more kids to visit when we retire, more grandchildren

 

Cons

  • I feel like I can barely keep my career work as it is and I wouldn’t become a stay-at-home-mom, but it would be even tougher
  • This morning I almost put the coffee beans in the water reservoir and I let the espresso drip without a cup beneath it.  And Ava’s been sleeping so much better lately!
  • Another child would require giving Ava less attention, and Ava is the best!  Why would I take time away from her?
  • What if the next child wasn’t as amazing as Ava?  What if the next child required more work?
  • Ava is a bad sleeper.  She doesn’t sleep for more than three hours without waking up.  Add another baby to the mix, and I might test whether you can die from sleep deprivation.
  • $$$: We’d need a nanny for even longer, there are associated educational costs, more, more, more
  • I started taking another classes to get closer to that CS degree.  Another child would make it harder to finish.

 

So tell me, internet, do you have regrets about not having another child?  Are you happy that you added another child?  Help me out!

Ava Is 11 Months Old

How did Ava become so old?  My neighbor had a baby a few weeks ago and it’s amazing to think that Ava used to be one of those tiny snorfling babies.

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I love, love, love this stage right now where she’s becoming more dexterous and is starting to understand words.

Ava’s monkey face

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Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is a speed crawler.  She likes to follow me through different rooms.  What’s really interesting is that at night if I leave the room she cries and crawls after me while sobbing.  But during the day, she just follows me without complaint.
  • Ava is going to stand on her own any day now.

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  • She is getting better at feeding herself.  She used to grab at the food.  Now she can use her pincer grip to pick up portions of the food.
  • We play this fun game where she crawls as fast as she can to get to the edge of the bed.  I grab her legs and pull her back to me.  The further she gets over the edge, the more she giggles.
  • Ava likes to play what we call The Sock Game.  She grabs a sock and shakes it vigorously while yelling.  Sometimes she throws the sock and retrieves it, to start the game all over again.  She played the game with this bunny.

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  • Ava is into everything.  EVERYTHING!  You can’t leave her alone.  I’m so screwed when she starts walking.

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Foods and Liquids

  • Ava is so independent, she will only eat from a spoon if I give her finger food.  
  • She doesn’t really like purees anymore so I’m trying to find soft foods that she can feed herself.  I’ve been baking breads and cakes, which sometimes she likes and sometimes she smears all over her chair.
  • Ava will consistently eat grapes.
  • She will often eat cheese and pasta with pizza sauce.
  • She wants variety in her diet and is more likely to eat food if it’s what we’re eating.  Tonight she ate a ton of asparagus casserole.

Making sure there isn’t any high-fructose corn syrup in her juice

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Sleep

  • Looking at last month’s statement about how Ava goes down easily is amazing because it’s been such a struggle since her sickness.  I’ve been instituting the cry it out method since Ava got better, and it’s going okay.  Tonight took six minutes of crying from putting her in the crib to sleep, yesterday was 11 minutes, the night before was two minutes, and the night before was four minutes.  For the most part, she’s been going down at 8 and sleeping until 10:30, then 12 or 1, when I bring her back into my bed.  She wakes up for the day between 6:15 and 7:15 if I’m lucky.

Language Skills

  • No new words.
  • We’ve been pointing at objects and telling Ava the names of the objects.  As a result, Ava now likes to point at things and babble.
  • Ava loves to be read to.  She prefers books without too much text, but you can read more if you scratch at the characters.

Ava Likes Yoga

After almost two weeks of being sick, Ava is finally better.  This was Ava’s second illness in the past month, and it completely ruined her sleep.  I would start to put her down for bed at 8:00, it would take until nearly nine for her to finally fall asleep, and then she would wake up every 20-40 minutes and require all this time to fall back asleep until I brought her back into the bed.  I’ve started the cry it out method again, just to get her back to a reasonable schedule like allowing me to put her down for bed quickly, and not going back in until 10:30.  Is that really so unreasonable?

Yes

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Ava has progressed from crawling to practicing her downward dogs.

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I’m guessing she’ll be walking within the next month, but parents tell me that there’s no predicting from one step to the other.  Ava also crawls all around the house and gets into everything.  We’re quickly installing various baby protective measures.

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Ava continues to adore Teddy Roosevelt.  He’s such a great dog for a baby.  Even when Ava is too rough with him before we stop her, Teddy doesn’t even whimper.  I think he likes her too.

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Ava especially loves when Teddy plays ball with Jon.  She laughs hysterically when Jon kicks or throws the ball and Teddy chases after it.

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 It’s hard to believe Ava is almost a year old.  I think time goes even faster when you’re sleep deprived, but maybe time goes by quickly when you look forward to getting up every day.

 

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